Allahabad: School that banned National Anthem sealed; manager arrested
Allahabad, Aug 8: A day after a school in Allahabad refused to allow recital of the National Anthem by students and staff members on Independence Day, its manager was on Monday, Aug 8, arrested and was slapped with a sedition case.
Authorities today began proceedings for sealing the MA Convent School located in Boghara locality, which was allegedly running illegally, and stepped up security due to tension in the area.
Zia-ul Haq, the manager of the school, was booked under the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act and arrested, officials said.
A magisterial inquiry has been ordered to look into how the school was allowed to run for two decades without any clearance from authorities and the allegation against the manager, they said.
The district administration has also constituted a three-member team to probe the incident.
"Orders for sealing the school have been issued. The education department has been requested to arrange shifting of nearly 300 students enrolled there to some other school so that their studies do not suffer," officiating District Magistrate of Allahabad Andra Vamsee said.
An FIR was filed by the education department in the matter which came to light when eight of the school's teachers, including its principal, resigned last week after they were denied permission to hold recital of the national anthem during the upcoming Independence Day celebrations.
Teachers, who had quit their jobs alleged that school manager Zia-ul-Haq had stopped the singing of the national anthem "Jana Gana Mana..." calling it an "act against Islam".
They also said they had been forbidden for many years now to sing the national anthem. This time when they openly threatened to go public with the ban, they were asked to leave by the school administration.
Zia-ul Haq claims that the National Anthem violates the basic tenets of Islam.
Meanwhile, Haq had defended the move, claiming that the phrase 'Bharat Bhagya Vidhata' in the national anthem's opening stanza violated the basic tenets of Islam.
Haq also claimed that some words in the national anthem were "objectionable" and against the "basic principles of Islam" which maintained that Allah was the only giver and the one who decides the destiny of its people.
The DM said, "A magisterial probe has also been ordered to look into how the school was allowed to run for two decades without any clearance from authorities. Education department officials say that recently they had even sent a notice asking them to shut down the school which was being run illegally".
"Moreover, the school's manager has reportedly said that he has never allowed recital of the national anthem ever since the school started.
"The investigation will also cover this issue and it would be probed as to whether there had been complaints in the past against the school on this count and if so what action was taken," he said.
Vamsee said that the manager was arrested when it was observed that "the controversy was creating some tension". It could have resulted in animosity between members of different communities, he added.
Meanwhile, police and Provincial Armed Constabulary have been deployed in the vicinity of the school to prevent any untoward incident in the area, Additional SP (City) Rajesh Yadav said.
On Sunday, Aug 7, the BJP accused the Samajwadi Party of pursuing vote bank politics and encouraging anti-national elements in Uttar Pradesh.
"For the last 12 years, the national anthem and national song of the country has not been recited in this school (in Allahabad)," BJP national secretary Shrikant Sharma told reporters here.
Local units of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Hindu Yuva Vahini had also threatened to launch an agitation if the school was not shut down within 72 hours.
(With agency inputs)